Marzano Framework Validated With Florida VAM
In March 2011, as part of Florida’s participation in the federal Race to the Top initiative, Governor Rick Scott signed into law a sweeping education bill that would effectively overhaul a teacher evaluation system that had been entrenched for decades. Under the new law, K-12 teachers would no longer be evaluated in a system that rated 99 percent of teachers satisfactory or better. All 67 Florida school districts would now be asked to adopt a rigorous and fair evaluation system that would truly let district leaders, parents, and principals know whether or not Florida teachers were effective in their classrooms.
After months of extensive study, the Florida Department of Education recommended the Marzano Causal Teacher Evaluation Model as the framework most likely to succeed and adopted it as the Florida State Model for Teacher Evaluation. District administrators valued the solid research base in which the Marzano Causal Teacher Evaluation Model had been grounded. They appreciated the expansiveness of the teacher evaluation model, which separated the teaching process into four domains and 60 elements. The major focus is on how teachers approach different types of lessons and which strategies work best at raising student achievement for specific types of lessons or lesson segments – an approach that both valued the complexity of teaching and identified specific strategies linked to student achievement. Administrators also valued the emphasis in the Marzano Causal Teacher Evaluation Model on growing and developing teacher proficiency over time. Finally, they welcomed how well the model performed with the iObservation technology platform, a web-based system that supports the kind of targeted feedback teachers need to improve.
“Here in the state of Florida, we’re required by law to base our teacher evaluation instruments on solid research, something we had never done in the past. In fact, the only thing we were consistent about was our inconsistency in the way we did evaluations. So it was important to anchor the evaluation instrument in something that had a track record of proven methods of improvement as far as teaching and learning. The Marzano model seemed to be everything we needed.”
—Race to the Top Coordinator David Clark, who oversaw the implementation of the Marzano Causal Teacher Evaluation Model and the iObservation platform for Leon County School District in Tallahassee
Teachers and principals were understandably anxious about implementing a new model. Would teachers buy in to the new framework? Would the model actually work to improve instruction? Would there be enough training and support to ensure fairness and accuracy of rating? The answers, as it turned out for Leon County, were a resounding “yes”. Learn how Leon County teachers, administrators, and principals coped with the change and what they learned about themselves, their profession, and their practice in the process.